From a dad who murdered his 10-month-old daughter ‘in a fit of rage’ to a teenage driver who killed a mum-of-three after mounting a pavement – these are some of the criminals locked up in Greater Manchester in May.
The region’s courts have given out hefty prison sentences for all manner of crimes last month with M.E.N. reporters there to cover the most serious. An open, transparent criminal justice system is an important part of how our democracy works – so we make no apologies for devoting so much time to letting you know what happens in our courts.
Here are just some of the court cases our reporters have covered in May 2022.
READ MORE: 19 notorious criminals from around the UK jailed in May
Paralegal addicted to gambling stole £438k from law firm
A paralegal who was addicted to gambling has been jailed for stealing £438,000 from a law firm. Paul Young, 38, from Middleton , simply directed interim payments intended for innocent victims of road crashes into his bank accounts.
A court heard the victim of his fraud was his Manchester-based employer Berrymans Lace Mawer (BLM), which specialises in defending motoring claims on behalf of insurance companies.
Young, a father-of-two who earned £24,500-a-year as a paralegal at the firm’s ‘volume motor team’ in Manchester city centre, was caught making one payment to the wrong payee but bosses didn’t realise it was his account and dismissed it as a ‘simple error’. It meant he could continue to defraud his employer, taking advantage of ‘flaws in their system’, a court was told.
Young dealt with solicitors who were making personal injury and vehicle damage claims to insurance giant, Aviva, which in turn was ‘trusting the authenticity of the request’, Mr Blackshaw told the court. Aviva had ‘delegated’ management of the claims to BLM.
By June 2019 managers at BLM realised Young was abusing Aviva’s automated payment system to transfer funds to his own bank accounts rather than those of the claimants’ solicitors.
Young had arranged 116 payments to his accounts totalling £437,598.79 during a three-year period which BLM had to pay back to Aviva, the court heard. He was sacked on June 25, 2019, following a disciplinary hearing he didn’t attend.
The court heard the defendant paid a portion of the cash, almost £185,000, to an associate, Liam Henry. Both men were arrested but made no comment during police interviews.
Young, of Bamford Avenue in Middleton, said he suffers from anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation by obtaining £437,598.79 from Aviva and was jailed for three years and three months.
Henry, 37, of Holcombe Close in Kearsley, who admitted acquiring criminal property, was jailed for two years and two months.
Woman brutally attacked pal with meat cleaver over £20 and said ‘I’ll kill her’
A mum launched a horrendous meat cleaver attack on her friend following a petty row over £20. Zara Robertson, 36, hit her pal over the head several times with the fearsome weapon. After the appalling attack, Robertson said: “I’ll go down for murder for her, I’ll kill her.”
The friends, who also lived on the same street in Miles Platting, had been drinking together in the hours leading up to the shocking incident. Robertson had agreed to lend her friend £20. Shortly after, she left Robertson to visit a relative, but returned back at her home at about 9pm on March 19 last year.
Robertson became ‘agitated’ and demanded the £20 back, and she called a taxi to take them to a nearby cash point. Her friend refused to get in and as she walked back to her home, there was a ‘scuffle’ as Robertson tried to force her in to the car, prosecutor Daniel Lister told Manchester Crown Court.
Suddenly she realised that Robertson had armed herself with a meat cleaver, before she was hit four or five times to the head with the weapon causing heavy bleeding. Robertson was arrested shortly after and racially abused a nurse in a police station, calling her ‘white trash’.
Robertson, who was said to be ‘ashamed’ of her actions, has nine previous convictions including being jailed for two-and-a-half years for attacking an elderly man who had been ‘supportive and friendly’ towards her. Robertson, previously of Canada Street, Miles Platting, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and racially aggravated harassment. She was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.
Cocaine dealer known as ‘The Unit’ moaned that police had ‘taken all my trainers and everything’ after his role in criminal underworld exposed
A cocaine dealer known as ‘The Unit’ moaned that police had ‘taken all [his] trainers and everything’ after his role in the criminal underworld was exposed. Cornelius McFadden, 47, was unmasked as a ‘trusted’ courier linked to huge amounts of cocaine and also handled cash in excess of £300,000.
Despite living in a ‘cramped’ house in a state of ‘disrepair’, he had a genuine Cartier watch worth £9,450 and numerous pairs of trainers. The shoes were initially thought to be designer, but an investigation revealed they all were counterfeit apart from a genuine pair of Balenciaga trainers worth £700, Manchester Crown Court heard.
McFadden, from Stockport, has been locked up for eight years after he was unmasked as being behind the EncroChat username ‘The Unit’. Messages were recovered and revealed how between April and June 2020 McFadden had been couriering drugs and cash, even during lockdown.
McFadden, of Balfour Grove, Reddish, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Violent thugs held gun to dad’s head before taking dog’s eye out in terrifying burglary
Three men have been jailed for nearly three decades for their role in a terrifying armed robbery after smashing into a young couple’s home in Trafford. Jack Golding, his fiancée Annmarie Behan and their young son Arlo were at home at around 12.30am on August 25 last year when Nathaniel Leckie, 36, Tyler Tucker, 20, and Jordell Keegan, 19, broke into their flat in Altrincham wearing balaclavas.
The dad-of-one previously told the M.E.N one of the men had been carrying a machete, another a ratchet and the third a firearm. Shocking CCTV footage shows the thugs breaking through a window at the flat on Lloyds Gardens.
After arming himself with a baseball bat, Jack managed to strike one of the intruders before fleeing to his fiancée and son. At that point he said one of the burglars held a ‘gun to his head’ an demanded cash and jewellery from him. The trio then attacked the family dog, Cilla, leaving her so badly injured she lost her eye.
The three men were charged with aggravated burglary a month after the incident in September 2021 and were sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court on Monday (10 May). Nathaniel Leckie, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment after being convicted by a jury of aggravated burglary.
Tyler Tucker, also of no fixed abode, was sentenced to eight years and three months in a youth detention centre, and Jordell Keegan, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to seven years and four months in youth detention. Both men pleaded guilty to the same charge.
All three men will serve half of their sentence in custody before being released on licence.
The businessman who sped through a pedestrian crossing and killed a beloved father and his dog
A businessman has been jailed after he accelerated over a pedestrian crossing at 20mph over the speed limit, killing a pensioner and his pet dog. Ben Trigger, 29, was convicted following a trial last month of causing death by dangerous driving.
Trigger, who had twice previously been banned for drink-driving, was at the wheel of his Ford Ranger pick-up truck when it struck Abdelkader Dhrif, 70, on the A580 East Lancashire Road in Worsley, Salford, at 3.30pm on November 20, 2019. Abdelkader and his pet dog, Maisie, died.
Mr Dhrif was on the crossing with his dog while it was on red for pedestrians and green for motorists at the junction with Ellenbrook Road and Newearth Road. But following a trial last month a jury convicted Trigger, of Merton Grove, Astley, Wigan, of causing his death by dangerous driving after two hours of deliberations.
He was accelerating at the time and was travelling at 60mph, 20mph above the speed limit. Jailing Trigger for two years and six months, Judge Conrad QC told the defendant: “You killed a man because you were driving too fast in all the circumstances. Had you not been driving too fast, he would not have died.”
Trigger was also banned from driving for three years and two months and was ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs.
‘Devious’ paedophile targeted and abused two girls – and encouraged girlfriend to get involved
A ‘devious and depraved’ paedophile targeted and abused two girls – and encouraged his girlfriend to get involved. John Mills, 38, and Tiffany Eccles, 27, have both been jailed for their part in a vile catalogue of child sex offences.
Minshull Street Crown Court heard that the first victim reported the abuse at school after becoming upset, and disclosed that Mills, of Bury, had raped her in ‘various forms’ and sexually assaulted her over the course of five years. She said that she was under ten-years-old when the abuse began, and said she knew it was wrong but was too young to realise how serious the offending was.
Mills pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape of a child under 13; sexual assault; causing a child to engage in sexual activity and performing sexual activity in front of a child. He was said to have previous convictions for assault and criminal damage.
Mills, of Rochdale Old Road, was sentenced to a total of 19 years and three months imprisonment with an extended period of two years on licence. He must serve around 12 years and eight months in prison before he is considered for release by the Parole Board.
Eccles, of Moss Row, was jailed for seven years and two months. Both Mills and Eccles were handed restraining orders against their victims, made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order must sign the Sex Offenders Register, all which will run indefinitely.
Disgusting pervert who tried to groom a number of children online
A Manchester paedophile who tried to groom a number of children online – including while on police bail – has been locked up for ten years. Rachel Fenton, previously known as Richard Fenton, of Bideford Drive, Wythenshawe, was sentenced on Monday (9 May) at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to 21 child sex offences and a drug offence, including seven counts of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
Officers also found a number of indecent images of children including a large amount of child sexual abuse images and photos of young children on their devices, which were seized. Fenton, 45, was originally reported by an online vigilante group in November 2020, who said they had been communicating with them using a fake profile of a 12-year-old girl.
Not knowing it was a fake profile, Fenton tried to incite the girl to engage in sexual activity and send videos, and sent the profile indecent images and tried to encourage the believed girl to engage in sexual activity with a child aged six. He pleaded guilty to 21 child sex offences. Fenton also been issued with a sexual harm prevention order and been made to sign the sex offenders register for life.
Mum living ‘chaotic’ life locked up AGAIN for hurling abuse at 999 operator
A mum from Ashton has been jailed after hurling homophobic abuse at a 999 operator. Jane Readman, 49, called Zayn Ahmed a “fa***t” and told him to “f*** off” when he was unable to tell her why police were patrolling outside her home.
Readman blamed her outburst on the wrong dosage of medication, mental health issues, heavy drinking and the grief of losing her mother. The court heard she had made the abusive 999 call in February last year after spotting officers near her her address.
She got through to Mr Ahmed and asked him why police were there but then became abusive to him saying: ”f*** off you f****t.” Readman was detained later but whilst being kept in a cell at Cheadle police station she lashed out at a policewoman who was trying to help her put on a vest.
In what a judge described as a ”telling and pragmatic” statement, Mr Ahmed, who works for Greater Manchester Police, said he had become immune to the abuse because he thought perpetrators of ”hate” comments were unlikely to change. Readman, who has 103 previous offences on her record, has been in and out prison for various offences including violence, having a bladed article and racially aggravated threatening behaviour.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Readman was jailed for 16 weeks after she admitted sending a malicious communications and assaulting an emergency worker. She was convicted at an earlier hearing of common assault and attacking three police officers who arrested her for spitting in the face of a fellow customer in a corner shop.
‘Festive Ape’ unmasked as cocaine dealer with £9m gang after ‘nightmare’ arrest
A cocaine dealer who worked with a organised crime gang which laundered £9 million in dirty money in just three months has been locked up for almost a decade. Nathan Powell, 31, was unmasked as the man operating the EncroChat handle ‘Festive Ape’ when law enforcement were able to hack in to the previously untraceable messaging network.
He was linked to drugs boss Leon Atkinson, a friend of cop killer Dale Cregan who was found to have prison letters from the murderer when police raided his home. Powell, from Openshaw, and another man, 37-year-old Adam Marsden, acted as ‘distributors’ below ‘regional’ cocaine supplier Atkinson.
Atkinson, 44, was linked to at least 28 kilos of cocaine. Marsden was linked to 12 kilos and Powell to 13 kilos. Atkinson took on 13 kilos of the 30 kilos robbed in an underworld heist at the stashhouse of a notorious Liverpool gang.
After the Cox crime family struck in Merseyside , Powell picked up the drugs on Atkinson’s behalf in a handover near Manchester City’s training ground. Two other men acted as couriers for the outfit. ‘Hard up’ Rochdale taxi driver Romiz Ahmed laundered nearly £2 million for crime bosses, and Abdul Ghafar, 46, was linked to almost £6.5 million.
Powell was jailed for nine years and eight months. Marsden previously received the same sentence, while Atkinson was sentenced to 15 years. Ghafar was locked up for eight years and eight months, while Ahmed received six years. Atkinson, of Brindley Close, Atherton, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Ghafar, of Halifax Road, Nelson; Marsden, of Taunton Avenue, Rochdale; Powell, of Cheney Close, Openshaw; admitted one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. All four men admitted conspiracy to transfer criminal property. Ahmed, of Rossall Road, Rochdale, was found guilty after trial of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use of control of criminal property by others.
Drugs boss found with prison letters from pal Dale Cregan when police raided his home
A drugs boss had prison letters from one-eyed cop killer Dale Cregan in a bedside draw when police raided his home. Leon Atkinson, 44, stood trial accused of murder nearly ten years ago alongside his pal Cregan but was acquitted.
Atkinson is now beginning a 15 year sentence, though, after being unmasked as a ‘regional supplier’ for a huge cocaine gang peddling drugs imported to the UK. During a search of his home in Atherton, officers found ‘prison letters addressed to Aki from Dale Cregan’, Manchester Crown Court heard.
He sold on drugs imported into the UK by a contact was linked to at least 28 kilos of cocaine. Atkinson took on 13 kilos of the 30 kilos of cocaine stolen in an audacious armed robbery at the stashhouse of a notorious Liverpool gang.
Two men were seriously injured after members of the Cox crime gang struck in a meticulously planned heist. The handover of the 13 kilos took place near Manchester City’s training ground. Defending, Brett Weaver appealed to the sentencing judge not to sentence Atkinson on ‘the basis of any reputation he may have’. He described Atkinson as a ‘middle man’ or ‘broker’.
Atkinson has now been sentenced to 15 years in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to transfer criminal property.
One-man crimewave yelled ‘you should all get raped and killed’ in terrifying rampage
A one man crimewave who caused chaos across the city centre has been jailed. Roger Clarke, 54, repeatedly lost his temper, abusing receptionists, managers, police and members of the public in a fit of rage.
Clarke, of Fallowfield, admitted offences of criminal damage, public order, racially aggravated harassment, assaulting an emergency worker and affray and was jailed for 16 months. He was also banned from going into the city centre as well as two residential homes for vulnerable people.
Manchester Crown Court was told of a number of incidents, including one where “he was shouting ‘you f***** b****’ and was heard to shout ‘you’re all filthy c****, should all get raped and killed” to a receptionist, prosecutor Michael Goldwater said.
A few months later, he used racist language towards a man and abused another. As officers arrived to arrest him he said one officer was a ‘fat f******* lesbian b******’ and said ‘I’ll kick you in the c*** b*****’.
As they went to put him in the back of the police van, he became violent, attempting to headbutt one officer and kicking out at another, making contact with her groin. As she moved away he kicked out again, striking her in the face, before kicking the other officer in the face.
Clarke was said to have 68 previous convictions for over 100 offences including possession of a bladed article, driving offences, drug offences, battery, criminal damage, racially aggravated harassment, abusive behaviour and breach of a criminal behaviour order.
Driver ploughed into innocent boy walking along footpath then reversed over him
A drink driver hit a 15-year-old boy after reversing over him in a ‘reckless and dangerous’ manner – he was left looking like a ‘pile of clothes’ on the ground. John Burton, 40, had reversed at speeds of 20 miles per hour over almost 50 metres before striking the boy in his friend’s VW Golf.
Burton was arrested and smelt of alcohol, so officers conducted a roadside breath test, of which he returned a reading of 78 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. This was said to be twice the legal limit of 35 milligrams.
A further breath test at the police station recorded a reading of 46 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. He later told the police that he was insured on his friend’s car and paid £70 per week for its usage. He said that prior to the collision he had drunk a can of cider before going to visit his mum.
Burton was said to have a number of previous convictions including for an offence of drink driving in November last year for which he was disqualified for 15 months. Burton, of Newall Road, was jailed for 34 months, banned from driving for three years and five months and must take an extended retest before he gets behind the wheel again.
Man’s horror 48-hour rampage HOURS after he’s released from jail
A thug who threatened to kill a woman just hours after being released from prison has been sent back to jail for more than four years. Noel Jennings, 32, was released from prison on licence on March 9 this year, before subjecting a woman to 48 hours of abuse so bad she ‘wet herself without realising’ out of fear.
He had just been released from jail when a woman, who cannot be named, picked him up to take him to his brother’s house. But he locked her inside the house and instead began a ruthless two days of abuse, where he sprayed fire at her face and threatened to kill her whole family.
She managed to escape but Jennings sent her “repeated threatening messages,” said Brian Berlyne, prosecuting at Minshull Street Crown Court. She agreed to meet up with him. At one point when she was driving he pulled the hand brake, the court heard, “before screaming at her and striking her with his hand”.
In another incident, he brandished a large knife and told her: “I will cut you up and kill your whole family.” Jennings then got a smaller knife and held it against her face, threatening to cut her again, the court heard.
Mr Berlyne told the court that Jennings had 28 previous convictions, including a history of domestic abuse. Jennings was sentenced to 52 months behind bars for common assault, malicious communications, assault occasioning Actual Bodily Harm.
Dad who murdered his 10-month-old daughter in ‘fit of temper’ after her crying woke him up jailed for life
A dad who murdered his 10-month-old daughter after her crying woke him up in a ‘fit of temper’ has been jailed for life. Aiman Abbas Toor was killed at the hands of her father Ali Zain, 25, in November 2019, in a ‘brutal and deliberate’ act.
Prosecutors said that in a ‘fit of temper’ Zain killed Aiman, who died from asphyxia. He then repeatedly lied about how she died to paramedics, his wife and police and came up with a ‘fantasy story’ to align with medical evidence, Manchester Crown Court heard. The prosecution suggested he deliberately smothered or ‘crushed’ Aiman, causing fatal injuries.
When she stopped crying, he thought she’d gone back to sleep and only later discovered she was unresponsive. Zain later said that he’d lied as he in was in a panic, and because in Pakistan the police ‘torture and beat you’.
Two ‘elite’ pathologists with 60 years of experience between them said they’d never encountered the ‘exceptional’ injuries Aiman suffered. She sustained petechial haemorrhages, bleeding under the skin which revealed themselves as red spots on her face.
At trial Zain admitted responsibility for her death but said it was an accident and denied acting unlawfully, but was unanimously found guilty of her murder by a jury. Zain, of Crompton Street, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years and six months, less the 271 days he spent on remand.
Mug shots of defendants are released by police following sentencing. Greater Manchester Police said it did not have an image of Zain on file.
Serial thug attacked his pregnant partner and broke another woman’s jaw
A Stella-drinking thug attacked his pregnant girlfriend and threatened to ‘kick the baby out of her stomach’. Anthony Breame, 34, strangled and headbutted her during the vile rampage – and then broke another woman’s jaw just months later.
Breame, of Oldham, was found guilty of two offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, burglary with intent to cause GBH and threats to kill after a two-week trial. Manchester Crown Court heard of a number of terrifying attacks, which included strangling the woman after learning she’d had sex with someone else.
In another incident months later he returned to her house and made threats to kill her in front of her children. On another occasion he used a brick to smash her window and encouraged another man to smash the door with a black-handled hammer before he punched the woman’s new partner in the head.
The court heard of a second victim, who had been in a relationship with Breame. In June 2021 he turned up drunk at her house before attacking her. Months later he attacked her again whilst she was holding her daughter, grabbing her by the throat and punching her to the side of the face.
Breame was said to have 12 previous convictions for 20 offences, and was most recently jailed in 2015 for offences of blackmail and arson. He was also said to have previously assaulted his ex-partner in 2015. Breame, of Marion Street, was jailed for 10 years with an extended licence period of three years.
Woman groomed girl into sleeping with men for £100 – then sexually assaulted her as a pervert watched on
A woman groomed an underage girl into sleeping with men for money – then sexually assaulted her as a man watched on. Dominika Weremczuk, then 19, met the then 13-year-old at a house party, during which Weremczuk plied her with drugs including cocaine and engaged in sexual acts with her, a court heard.
This escalated to them having sexual intercourse when the girl was aged between 14 and 15 and when Weremczuk went to university to study criminology and psychology, Minshull Street Crown Court heard. The girl was encouraged to go and meet Weremczuk where they took drugs and there was a suggestion that she was working as an escort at the time.
She then encouraged the girl to ‘meet guys’ so she could get money to come back and visit her. Later, Weremczuk arranged another occasion where the girl met a different man and he gave her money for performing sexual acts, it was said.
Then, she took the girl round to Mark Houseman’s house in Stalybridge. She told told by Weremczuk that he was going to ‘take some pictures’ but once they got to the bedroom she told her to get undressed and they engaged in sexual activity as Houseman, 31, watched them.
Once things came to an end, Weremczuk became abusive, and the girl told her family, who in turn informed the police. In an interview with the police, Weremczuk, now 25, admitted having performed sexual activity with the girl and admitted being a prostitute.
Both Weremczuk and Houseman, both of Stalybridge, were found guilty of causing or inciting exploitation of a child, and Weremczuk was also found guilty of sexual activity with a child and arranging or facilitating child exploitation. She had also pleaded guilty to two offences of sexual activity with a child.
Weremczuk, of Hawkshead Close, was jailed for 11 years, of which she will serve two thirds in prison. Houseman, of West Avenue, was jailed for three years. Both were made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention order and must sign the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.
Driver killed mum-of-three after inhaling nitrous oxide at the wheel and ‘passing out’ – before cowardly fleeing the scene
A teenage driver high on cocaine killed a mum-of-three after smashing into her outside a Wigan pub. Jacob Gaskell, who also injured two other pedestrians when he mounted the pavement in Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, had been inhaling laughing gas from a balloon at the wheel of his Land Rover Freelander before the hit-and-run crash.
The incident happened on the evening of April 8 – the day before Gaskell’s 19th birthday and just two months after he was handed a suspended sentence for a previous dangerous driving offence. Cowardly Gaskell then fled the scene on foot as 44-year-old teacher Laura Hazeldine lay dying outside pub Number 15.
The court heard that Gaskell held the balloon in his mouth as he drove and other drivers on the road at the time described seeing Gaskell attempt an overtaking manoeuvre but instead mounted the pavement and smashed into three pedestrians, before hitting the pub wall and a lamp post.
Gaskell, of Marlbrough Avenue, Ince, pleaded guilty to six offences, including causing death by dangerous driving. He was jailed for nine years at Bolton Crown Court. He will also be banned from driving for a further 10 years upon his eventual release from prison.
Man ‘invaded’ vulnerable woman’s home and sexually attacked her as she slept
A man invaded a vulnerable woman’s home before sexually assaulting her as she slept. Richard Bradley, 45, walked into the woman’s house in the early hours of the morning before making his way to her bedroom.
The woman, who suffers from a number of learning disabilities and shared her home with live-in carers, was awoken on August 15 2021 to see a man standing in her bedroom. She described seeing him unzip his trousers before ‘messing with himself’.
He then walked over to her and sexually assaulted her, Minshull Street Crown Court heard. In body worn footage shown to the court, officers asked Bradley what he was doing and he replied “[Name] lived here, I’m seeing her, she’s in the other room, she knows I’m here.”
It was later said that he believed his ex-partner lived at the address. He was arrested and cautioned and replied ‘Yeah, fair enough’. In a prepared statement, he said he had suffered from a severe brain injury as a result of being struck to the head some years ago, and it has since affected his memory.
“He recalls going out that evening with a friend for a few drinks, and remembered nothing until waking up in the police station,” prosecutor Matthew Curtis said. Bradley was said to have 58 previous convictions including offences of burglary, possession of an imitation firearm and driving offences.
Bradley, of Burns Avenue, Bury, was jailed for 30 months after admitting two offences of sexual assault. He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, restraining order and must sign onto the Sex Offenders Register, all to run indefinitely.
Flash drugs ring used ice cream parlours and takeaways to live lavish lifestyle
Ice cream parlours, a take-away and a shed making firm have all been used by a Wigan drugs ring to launder huge sums of money made by dealing cocaine. The gang enjoyed a lavish lifestyle from their earnings – with flashy cars and designer clothes – until they were rumbled by police and brought to justice.
Seven men were jailed at Bolton Crown Court on Wednesday (May 18) for their roles in the conspiracy. Following a six-week trial, the group will serve a combined seven decades behind bars, while the wife of one of the men has also been handed a suspended prison sentence.
During the trial, the court was told about a police investigation codenamed Operation Trinket, used to uncover an organised criminal drug supply network in Wigan. Specialist staff carried out a period of intensive surveillance, before officers raided properties across the borough on the morning of July 20, 2018.
They included the homes of Paul Witter and his wife Jane Witter, Marc Talbot, his brother Michael Talbot, and Marc’s son Cameron Talbot. The group were all arrested on suspicion of being involved in a conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering.
Hundreds of items were seized for examination – including quantities of drugs, cash, mobile phones and SIM cards, along with hundreds-of-thousands of pounds’ worth of assets seized under Proceeds of Crime Act powers. These included high value designer clothing, jewellery and prestige vehicles.
Yet despite the lavish lifestyles some of the suspects enjoyed – funded by their illegal activity – they were declaring very little in the way of official income to the authorities. Following the initial investigation, police soon pieced together evidence of a wider network from recovered mobile phones and SIM cards.
Three further suspects were identified as also being involved in the wholesale supply of cocaine over a seven-year period, dating back as far as 2011 – Paul Whittaker, Thomas Tither and David Barnes. The trio were arrested following further drugs warrants being executed at their home addresses during May and June 2019.
Paul Whittaker, Thomas Tither, Michael Talbot, Cameron Talbot and David Barnes all denied conspiracy to supply cocaine and pleaded not guilty. However, following a trial in which Whittaker and Tither declined to give evidence, they were all found guilty as charged.
Paul Witter and Marc Talbot had already pleaded guilty to both conspiracy to supply cocaine and the money laundering offence of possession of criminal property at an early stage. Jane Witter had pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property.
Murderers who savagely killed Uber driver after he told them to stop eating burger and chips in his taxi
Connor McPartland, 20, and Martin Treacy, 18, have been jailed for life after killing ‘dearly loved’ taxi driver Ali Asghar in the street. Mr Asghar’s brother said he couldn’t recognise his sibling after the attack.
Mr Asghar, described as a ‘true gentleman’, had picked up the friends in Oldham town centre before taking them to Rochdale where they planned to meet some girls and then head to a Halloween party. Treacy started eating a chicken burger and chips in Mr Asghar’s new Mercedes.
Mr Asghar pulled over on Queensway after Treacy refused to stop eating, Manchester Crown Court heard. Then Mr Asghar was brutally attacked by the pair, being punched and kicked to the head. He was pushed over and hit his head on the wheel of his own car, and died two weeks later. A judge said Mr Ali was ‘in no way to blame’.
McPartland and Treacy, who both had no previous convictions, will be in their 30s when they are considered for release. McPartland will serve a minimum of 14-and-a-half years, and Treacy a minimum of 13-and-a-half years.
The judge said he accepted that they had not intended to kill Mr Asghar, and that the attack was not premeditated. He also praised another taxi driver who tried to intervene, and gave him a £500 reward for his public spirited actions.
The dangerous paedophile who broke order designed to stop him offending AGAIN – after targeting a child on TikTok
A paedophile has been deemed ‘dangerous’ by a judge after befriending a teenage girl online and persuading her to perform sexual acts for him. Dante Ingham-Marsters also made the victim watch as he performed an act himself.
Ingham-Marsers, who was already the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) when he committed the offences, has now been jailed after a jury convicted him of two counts of causing a child to watch a sexual act and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
At Minshull Street Crown Court , the 27-year-old was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years. He will also spend an additional two years on extended licence following his eventual release. Ingham-Marsters, of Bollin Avenue, Bowdon , originally made contact with the girl – who was under 16 – on social media app TikTok and used other social media sites to speak to her, the court was told.
She watched him perform a sexual act on at least two occasions and incited her to engage in two separate sexual acts, on at least three occasions each. Following his sentence, Ingham-Marsters will be subject to a SHPO and will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period of time.
Lying Mercedes driver who killed woman while distracted by his phone tried to blame her
A lying Mercedes driver killed a woman after ploughing head on into her car while distracted by his mobile phone and then tried to blame his victim. Mohammed Javadpour, 53, launched a desperate bid to cover up his selfish actions just moments after the crash in Stockport, which ultimately killed 56-year-old Elaine Goodwin.
Ms Goodwin, a self-employed nail technician, had nipped out to the shops to buy some milk when Javadpour crashed into her Vauxhall Corsa with his Mercedes SUV. Shortly after the smash, he arranged for someone to travel to the scene on Bramhall Lane South to remove the phone he had used to make a call about a minute prior to impact, before police were able to search his car.
Ms Goodwin died 12 days later after suffering terrible injuries. Her parents were on holiday in Tenerife at the time and faced an agonising wait to get home to be by her side in hospital, after initially having difficulty arranging a flight home. Her cat Mij was so traumatised that it had to be put down.
Minshull Street Crown Court heard Javadpour was on his way home to Woodford after driving to a chemist and picking up a takeaway pizza on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. He moved onto Bramhall Lane South, a road which requires ‘considerate’ driving and includes a blind bend to the left, at about 8.30pm.
Instead of steering to the left, Javadpour continued into the middle of the carriageway and onto the wrong side of the road, colliding head on into Ms Goodwin’s car. After the crash Javadpour ‘quite shockingly’ tried to blame Ms Goodwin for causing the collision, saying she had driven on the wrong side of the road and he’d swerved to avoid her. The lie was blown out of the water by an expert reconstruction.
Javadpour, of Ringway Avenue, Stockport, will serve half of his sentence in jail. He was also banned from driving for five-and-a-half years.
Pub landlord raped girl, 8, then threatened to kill her if she told anyone
A pub landlord raped an eight-year-old girl and threatened to kill her if she told anyone what had happened to her. Carl Marland, 58, carried out a series of sexual assaults on several young girls he had groomed with expensive gifts and drugs.
The youngest of his four victims was an eight-year-old girl, who Marland sexually assaulted several times. On one occasion he held a knife to the girl’s neck after having raped her. He travelled to Greater Manchester from London, where he ran a pub, to visit the girls and carry out his attacks.
Prosecutor Vanessa Thomson told the court that Marland groomed his victims by giving them gifts of clothes and money, as well as cannabis and cocaine. After becoming suspicious about gifts her daughter was receiving in the post, the mother of one victim found ‘inappropriate’ Snapchat and WhatsApp messages from Marland on her daughter’s phone.
Police and social services were alerted and he was arrested in London in January of last year. Officers also uncovered videos Marland had secretly filmed of one of the girls getting undressed. In one piece of footage, he discussed having sex with a victim.
Marland attempted to convince officers he was impotent and was therefore ‘not capable of doing the things he was accused of’. He previously pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communication with a child, three counts of sexuality activity with a child, two counts of making indecent photos of a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two counts of voyeurism.
A jury convicted him of a further 11 charges following a trial last year. They were four counts of rape of a child, five counts of sexual assaulting a child, causing a child to watch a sexual act and assault of a child by penetration.
Judge Rachel Smith passed a 21-year extended sentence, including 17 years in prison and an extra four years on licence. Marland will have to serve two-thirds of his 17-year prison sentence before he can be considered for parole.
‘Evil’ woman murdered partner by strangling him to death after tying him up for hours while she sexted new man
A manipulative woman murdered her boyfriend after tying him up and strangling him with an extension lead as she flirted and sexted with her new man. Charlotte Dootson, 25, sent a picture of 53-year-old Mohammed Mukhtar to the man while he was bound by his hands, feet and neck with extension leads.
He was tied up for more than two hours before she killed him. Mr Mukhtar, described as being ‘harmless’ and ‘vulnerable’, had suffered domestic abuse at Dootson’s hand for years. She had repeatedly attacked him during a campaign of cruelty, and at the time she murdered him.
Prior to killing him, Dootson, a former drug addict with a personality disorder, also either kicked or stamped on him and caused a life threatening injury to his liver. Mr Mukhtar, who had mental health issues and problems with the synthetic cannabinoid spice, suffered serious injuries and needed medical treatment.
But he would make excuses for Dootson, lie to protect her or refuse to support a prosecution. In the week prior to the killing, Dootson had struck up a relationship with a man online. On the morning of August 30, while she was with Mr Mukhtar in his flat on Droitwich Road, Miles Platting, they flirted with each other and exchanged sexual images and messages.
At 11.14am, Dootson messaged him saying: “I’ve done something bad, I mean bad bad, I need to run.” Then five minutes later she called her father. “I think I’ve killed him,” she said. “I think he’s dead, he’s not breathing, not moving.” He told her to put Mr Mukhtar in the recovery position, give him CPR and 999, but Dootson refused and said this would alert the police.
About half an hour later she called a friend of Mr Mukhtar and told him: “I’ve killed Mohammed. I’ve tied him with the extension lead, from his neck with the extension lead.” Now Dootson has been jailed for life to serve a minimum of 22-and-a-half years after admitting murdering Mr Mukhtar.
Terrifying video captures police chase through town before driver tries to hide in bushes
A driver has been jailed after leading cops on a terrifying pursuit through a Greater Manchester town before trying to hide in bushes. Shocking footage captured Stuart Haslam, 44, squeezing his Vauxhall Astra — using false number plates — in between other traffic in Dukinfield, Tameside.
He also drove across green areas of the town and down a pedestrianised alleyway. The driver, of Cunliffe Street, Hyde, dumped his car and tried to hide in bushes. However, he could not fool the officers pursuing him, who apprehended him at the scene.
He led officers on his reckless journey through Dukinfield on March 29 earlier this year. Now, Haslam has been jailed for 16 months for four offences. He was also banned from driving after his conviction for dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance, failing to stop at a collision, and failing to stop for police.
Teen thief stole cars and motorbikes in four-week crime spree
A teen thief has been locked up after brazenly stealing four cars and motorbikes from owner’s homes in a month-long crime spree. Kamil Kowalski, 19, appeared before Manchester Minshull Street Court charged with nine different offences including theft, burglary, and attempted burglary.
Prosecutor Brian Berlyne said Kowalski’s offending started on November 5, 2020, when he stole a transit van. The offending continued to December 9 and 10 where he first stole a Suzuki motorcycle from a garage in Haughton Green before entering a garage attached to a house in Mottram, grabbing a bicycle.
Mr Berlyne expressed frustrations to Judge John Potter that these charges had not been brought earlier, when Kowalski and another defendant, were before Manchester Crown Court in November last year for their roles in the gang who were on an ‘expedition’ looking for cars to steal and sell on.
Restaurant owner Mohammed Islam, 53, was killed after being hit by his own car as it was stolen, while he made a food delivery to a house in Romiley, Stockport. Kowalski was handed a suspended sentence during this case. Howard Bernstein, defending, proposed sparing Kowalski jail, instead handing him another suspended sentence. Kowalski had been in custody since November of last year while waiting for this hearing.
Judge Potter handed Kowalski, of Grange Road South, Hyde, a 40-month sentence at a young offenders institution and ordered to pay £190 as a victim surcharge fee.
Man who helped transport ‘high purity’ cocaine
A trio of men who brought ‘high purity’ cocaine to the streets have been handed more than a decade of jailtime between them.
Stephen Sumner, Nicholas Waine and Simon Shaw transported roughly £40,000 worth of class A drugs into Fleetwood, Lancashire, from Greater Manchester last autumn when they were arrested. The police investigation – named Operation Bergen – kept the criminals under surveillance.
Eventually, the three men were caught after their van was stopped on the M61 near Rivington. Cops recovered half a kilo of high purity cocaine and took out of circulation, LancsLive reports .
Sumner, 37, of Poulton Road, Fleetwood and Waine, 36, of Norwood Avenue, Sale, Manchester pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Supply Cocaine. Shaw, 44, of Normoss Road, Blackpool admitted Possession with Intent to Supply Cocaine.
They were all jailed at Preston Crown Court this week. Sumner was sentenced to three years and eight months; Waine received a term of four years and four months and Shaw was jailed for two years and eight months.
‘Dangerous’ robber in false beard who sprayed Post Office staff with ammonia
A ‘dangerous’ robber sprayed ammonia at Post Office workers in a terrifying raid. CCTV footage shows Daniel Burtak – who was wearing a false beard to conceal his identity – vaulting over a security screen and counter.
Burtak and getaway driver Colin Naylor, both from Bolton, were locked up for 12 years each. Burtak sprayed ammonia from a washing-up liquid bottle at the members of staff before escaping from the branch on Abbey Street in Accrington, Lancashire, on a bicycle, police said.
Burtak, 35, of Settle Street, Little Lever, Bolton, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and three counts of administering a noxious substance. He was sentenced to 12 years, with a three-year extended licence period after being deemed to be a ‘dangerous offender’. Naylor, 51, of Raikes Way, Darcy Lever, Bolton, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. He, too, was jailed for 12 years.
Teenager waited outside mosque to stab man in ‘extremely violent’ broad daylight attack
A teenager who travelled to Sheffield to ambush and repeatedly stab a man outside a mosque has been jailed. Mohamed Shabaz, from Oldham, has been locked up for 21 years for attempted murder.
The 19-year-old travelled from Greater Manchester in a stolen car. He then attacked the man from behind in a brutal assault.
Shabaz slashed the victim with a large kitchen knife before fleeing the scene leaving him for dead, the court heard . The man received life-threatening injuries and spent a number of weeks in hospital recovering from the assault.
Detectives were able to identify Shabaz, of Manchester Road, Oldham, as the perpetrator of the attack following extensive CCTV and forensic examinations. He was arrested and later charged with attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
Despite denying the offence throughout, he was found guilty of both charges at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, May 27, and sentenced to 21 years. When passing sentence, the Judge said when Shabaz gave his evidence, it amounted to “a confection of falsehoods you peddled in the box” that the jury saw through.
Three jailed for murdering teenager Rhamero West who was chased and stabbed to death
Three people have been jailed for murdering teenager Rhamero West who was chased by a ‘pack of wolves’ until he was stabbed to death in Old Trafford.
Ryan Cashin, 19, Giovanni Lawrence, 20 were jailed to life to serve a minimum of 24 and 21 years and respectively. Marquis Richards, 17, was sentenced to the youth equivalent of life and locked up for at least 18 years.
Rhamero was driving a stolen BMW and was with friends when he was spotted on the Princess Parkway at rush hour at about 6pm on September 9 last year.
Richards got out of one of the two stolen BMWs while Rhamero’s car was stationary in traffic, and started attacking the car with a ‘large knife’. Rhamero desperately tried to get away, driving too fast and crashing into another car and ploughing into a tree.
Richards chased Rhamero while armed with a knife, and Cashin joined the foot chase. Cashin took the weapon from Richards before stabbing Rhamero to the legs in a front garden on Norton Street.
Lawrence, a driver of one of two stolen BMWs which had pursued Rhamero, was also convicted of murder under the joint enterprise law.
Cashin, of of Nancy Street, Manchester; Richards, of Anne Nuttall Road, Hulme; and Lawrence, of Colgrove Avenue, Manchester, were all found guilty of murder after a trial.
A motive for the brutal killing of Rhamero, a nephew of ex-Man City and England international Shaun Wright-Phillips, was not put forward by prosecutors.
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